tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC August 12, 2013 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT
just a statement. like he was trying to hide something. but that's the job of activists, that we pull the covers off and expose them. i lost one of our pioneering voting rights activists bill lynch, my good friend on friday. in his name, we're going to keep fighting. we're going to turn north carolina and other states around. we cannot have state law supersede our civil and voter rights. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. crime, punishment and a victory for civil rights. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm michael smerconish in for chris matthews. leading off tonight, a landmark day for civil rights advocates winning key victories on a pair of issues. one national, one local, both
historic. the first, attorney general eric holder, the nation's top cop and a leading civil rights figure in the obama administration announcing a major overhaul to ease government drug sentencing guidelines. holder was clear this isn't just about perform reforming an outdated, inefficient and expensive war on drugs, he said. this is about reforming a judicial system of inequality system that will abuses blacks and minorities. this is holdser speak how they're disproportionately involved in that system. >> we also must confront the reality that once they're in that system, people of color often face harsher punishments than their peers. in recent years, black male offenders have received sentences nearly 20% longer than those imposed on white males convicted of similar crimes. this isn't just unacceptable. it is shameful. >> now, the second case in new york city where a federal judge demolished the city's tactics surrounding a controversial stop and frisk law, the law has
become a flash point for racial tensions nationwide not unlike stand your ground in the trayvon martin case. in her ruling, the judge said that tens of thousand of new yorkers had their rights systemically violated and overwhelming majority of the victims black and hispanic. the city must now follow a strict series of remedies at the court's request including the appointment of an independent monitor to oversee the nypd conduct. new york mayor michael bloomberg was livid. the law in connection with a declining crime rate has been a defining part of his legacy. and at a press conference earlier today, he didn't hide his disgust, particularly when it came to the issue of a monitor. >> if somebody pulls a gun and you want to get home to your family, you don't have time to say well, wait a second, the commissioner said one thing, the monitor said another and the ig said another. by that time, you're dead. and i'd like to see you go to the funeral and explain to the family why their son or husband
or father is not coming home at night. >> sherrilynn ifill is the president and director of the naacp's he education fund. george pataki a former governor of the great state of new york. these are called terry stops. in a terry stop, a police officer needs to be operating on more than a hunch. the way new york city was carrying out stop and frisk the judge said resulted in an indirect form of racial profiling. >> yeah, i totally disagree with the judge, michael. you're probably not surprised by that. i think what we have seen is a dramatic reduction in violent crime in the city. there will be at least 2,000 fewer murderers this year than there were about ten years ago in one year. the vast majority of those victims are minorities. and their lives are being saved because we have a police department and a mayor who are being proactive in going after illegal guns, illegal activity on the street in a way that i believe and i hope the mayor will appeal and is ultimately determined to be constitutional.
>> sherrilynn, respond to that. and also tell me how will this be received in the minority community, where the governor points out folks are most disproportionately affected by crime. >> well, let's begin by saying while violent crime certainly has been reduced in new york city, it's been reduced all over this country. in fact, the violent crime rate in this country is where it was in 1966. yet the prison population is far beyond where it was in 1966. stop and frisk policies are not about illegal activity. certainly those in the minority community as the governor points out are disproportionately the victims of violent crime care about guns and illegal activity in the community. but stop and frisk which resulted in the stopping of over 600,000 new yorkers, the vast majority of whom were african-american and latino and which produced arrests of about 12% of those who were stopped and frisked is about engaging in this conduct towards people who are doing nothing wrong.
it's a form of racial profiling and we're thrilled that judge in this exhaustive 200-page opinion recognized that the activities of the police and this policy infringes on the constitutional rights of new yorkers. >> i think the governor was saying in part that one of the reasons the crime has reached this 40-year low is because of the implementation of programs like stop and frisk. >> and i guess one of the things i'm saying is how do you account for the fact that crime has reached a low all over the united states, including places where you don't have stop and frisk? the reality is that crime began to go down in new york in the 1990s when dinkens was mayor, when david dinkens was mayor before we instituted stop and frisk, and all over the country crime has been going down. we're at astonishingly low rates of crime in the country. the question is can we begin to create some of the excesses like stop and frisk that the judge identified today. >> i want to show you both this. mayor bloomberg was quick to defend the policies of the use of stop and frisk, arguing that the law has been a key part of new york's reduced crime rate,
just as we mentioned. >> every day, commissioner kelly and i wake up determined to keep new yorkers safe and save lives. and our crime strategies and tools, including stop, question, frisk, have made new york city the safest big city in america. and i'm happy to say we are on pace for another record low of shootings and homicides this year. because our police officers follow the law and follow the crime. they fight crime wherever crime is occurring and they don't worry if their work doesn't match-up to a census chart. >> governor, this is a big part of his legacy. he doesn't want to leave office with the record he has intact and all of a sudden be remembered as the guy implementing stop and frisk on an unconstitutional basis. >> well, i think he should be remembered as the man who helped reduce violent crime to historically low levels in this city. sherrilynn is absolutely right. we have an seen a decline across the country but haven't seen anything like the dramatic decline in new york city. you can trash new york city
where we have policing, including stop and frisk, with chicago, where the rate of minority murders in that city is just unacceptable. and sherrilynn is also right when you look at the statistics. but look at the statistics of the stop and frisk. it reflects basicallity the percentages of those who ultimately are arrested and charged with crimes in this city. the sad fact is that not only are minorities an overwhelming percentage of the victims of violent crime, they tragically are also those who most often end up convicted of committing those crimes. >> president obama made a point about that when he seemed to speak extemporaneously on that on friday. we may have been together analyzing the speech that day. he made the point about african-americans being disproportionately represented on both sides of that deal. >> you know what is interesting about this is it actually -- stop and frisk policies, they actually undermine law enforcement. because what ends up happening is young men, like many of the
men who testified and who brought forward evidence in this case who have been stopped and frisked 12, 13, 14 times in a five-year period, young men who are in high school, young men who are in college doing nothing wrong, they and their families later come to distrust the police. they're the same people who are going to sit on our juries. they're the same people who we need to call the police to give information about real crime happening in their communities. and they become distrustful. it sets up a barrier between law enforcement and the communities, and that harms african-americans as well as the rest of the residents of the city. >> let's talk briefly about the sentencing case, if we can. because in his speech today, attorney general eric holder combatted criticisms his actions in sentencing reform would be labeled as soft on crime or compromising public safety. the attorney general defended his proposals to ease drug sentencing guidelines by pointing to state programs that have successfully focused on community programs instead of hard-line prosecution. >> be clear. these measures have not compromised public safety. in fact, many states have seen
drops in recidivism at the same time their prison populations were declining. while our federal prison has continued to slowly expand, significant state level reductions have led to three consecutive years of decline in america's overall prison population including in 2012, the largest drop ever. experienced in a single year. >> governor, some are saying this is an end run around congress. i happen to think that it is. but i get it. members of congress want to thump their chests and be tough on crime and will vote for mandatory minimums. but when it comes time to dial that back, nobody wants to be held accountable. >> see, i disagree with you. i think to the extent that the attorney general is proposing to change the drug sentencing laws, it should be done by statute. it should be done with congress. and i did exactly that in new york state. we put in place policies that provided shock incarceration, community-based treatment for certain low level drug offenders. at the same time we increased penalties for those who would
have a gun or use a gun or the higher level drug kingpins. when i left office, we had 7,000 fewer people in prison than we did because of those intelligent reforms. >> what i'm saying is i don't think they could get it through the congress, because i don't think people want to stand up and vote aye for something that dials it back. it's a political problem. >> michael, i think i have had a record and have an attitude that is as tough on crime, including drug violations as any governor in this state. yet i was able not just to sign that into law, but to propose reforms when they're done intelligently and when it's balanced, and you don't look at it as a way to allow high-level drug dealers or those who have a gun or those who have a history of violence to get out early, then i think you can create a bipartisan consensus for treatment and alternatives. >> let me ask you both this. we have the statistic, the data here. it's been bandied about a great deal today. 5% of the world's population,
25% of the world's incarcerated population and a 40-year low in crime. can you read all of that together and say well, one of the reasons we have such a high rate of incarceration and such low crime is because a lot of the bad seeds have been taken off the street? >> i don't mean to cut sherrilynn out, but i totally agree with that. one of the things we did was change sentencing not just in drug area. we have much tougher sentences for those who are repeat criminals. and it's one of the reasons why we saw such a dramatic reduction of violent crime in the new york state. >> listen, in 1991, the prison population in the entire united states was about 200,000. that's now about the federal prison population, about 219,000. overall, we have 2.2 million people incarcerated in the united states. that's a dramatic increase in the last 30, 40 years. we just talked about the all-time low, you know, in violent crime. we overreached and we broke families and we broke communities. the reality is the vast majority of people who are in prison are going to get out.
when they get out, they will have the deficit of their record, they will have the deficit of what happened to them when they were in prison, they will have precious few resources that are available to begin their lives again. so what the attorney general suggested today, and i think it's really fascinating. he's focusing on a little discussed area of authority and power. and that's prosecutorial discretion. he says it's not about end runs around the law. prosecutors have the ability to decide what they're going to charge a criminal defendant with. >> understood. >> and he says, our prosecutors, u.s. attorneys need to use that charging power in a smart way. they need to use it to do just what judge pataki said, make sure that you come hard against those who is have the record, who have been involved in violent criminal activity but not against people who have a clean record who are involved in nonviolent activity. you don't use the drug kingpin statues meant to get the worst of the worst against those kinds of individuals. >> it's a great conversation. thank you both for being here to
participate in it. >> thank you. >> sherrilynn ifill and george pataki. coming up, what is the one thing that could ruin the fun that reince priebus has been having bashing nbc for bashing a hillary miniseries? that would be if it turned outfox was producing it. and guess what? they are considering producing it. it's now your move, reince. also, the gift that keeps on giving. the iowa caucuses, only 880 days away, give or take a couple of weeks away but already ds and rs are acting like it's 14 degrees and we're in january of 2016. plus, guilty as charged. boston mobster whitey bulger is convicted of a bunch of racketeering charges, including 11 murders. the government is likely to provide bulger's housing for the rest of his life. and perhaps the biggest clown in what chris matthews loves to call the republican 2012 clown show, back with more birther nonsense. this is "hardball," the place for politics. the earth moves a. ♪
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president obama gave his most spirited defense of his health care law on friday. and now republicans have revived some of the false talking points to discredit it. here's rnc chair reince priebus. >> the fact is, what people don't want are government panels deciding whether something's medically necessary. >> government panels? sounds a lot like those death panels that sarah palin used to talk about. by the way, one reason why more americans oppose obama care than support it, it's getting killed on twitter. kantar media's campaign for media analysis tracks political ads and tweets and found negative tweets outnumber positive tweets by six or seven to one. we'll be right back. no! we're g! this is your first time missing a payment. and you've got the it card, so we won't hike up your apr for paying late. that's great! it is great! thank you. at discover, we treat you like you'd treat you. get the it card with late payment forgiveness.
pull gop primary debates in the presidential cycle if both networks move forward with planned specials about hillary clinton. but over the weekend, "the new york times" revealed the conservative fox news channel's own sister entertainment division, fox television studios is in talks to produce and distribute the script for the miniseries being planned to air on nbc. candy crowley confronted priebus putting the chairman on the defensive about those revelations yesterday on cnn. >> "the new york times" is reporting that the nbc clinton series might likely be produced by fox television studios. that's sort of a sister company to fox news. so the if we follow your logic, do you think that there then is a connection to fox news and would they be subject to the same kind of scrutiny? >> i'm going to boycott the company that puts the miniseries and the documentaries on the air for the american people to view. i'm not interested in whether they use the same sound studio or whether they use the same set. i don't know the truth of anything you're talking about.
but i do know what's very clear. is that the company that puts these things on the air to promote hillary clinton including cnn is the company that is not going to be involved in our debates. period. >> so the people that write. >> with me now bill carter of "the new york times" and sam stein "the huffington post." let's be clear. we're arguing or they're arguing about a script that hasn't even been written. >> that's right. and i think first of all, i have no dog in this fight but when i wrote the story and realized that fox had involvement with their entertainment arm, i thought it was certainly interesting, and sort of raises the question of who is really responsible for putting on an entertainment thing, and how does it relate to anybody's news division. >> but i think it becomes, and i recognize that you have no dog in the fight. it seems like a hard an argument for reince priebus toe make that i'm going to hold accountable those networks that air it as
compared to those who produce it. when i read your piece and then heard what he had to say as a lawyer, i thought of civil law and product liability. those ho get held accountable are manufacturers and vendors, assuming it's a defective product. >> look, in the entertainment world, there are entangled relationships. and in this case, nbc picks up the project that was pitched all around, and they look for a production entity. that production entity will have a deep involvement. they will approve the script. they're not just going to put on what nbc says. they also get the international distribution rights. so they have a real vested interest in this. if they do it, they will be deeply involved. >> sam, does he have egg on his face, or is this all about playing to the base anyway? politically, it's been a very wise move. what about now given what bill carter has reported? >> first of all, i wish i had the legal chops to do the arguments you're making, but i don't. but from a political standpoint, i do think he has a bit of egg on his face. i don't get the distinction between production and distribution and airing the documentary. if you're involved in the general product, i think you're involved in the general product.
and for reince priebus, that involvement was big enough and good enough to get you kicked out of hosting republican debates. so by logic, the next question becomes why is fox any less culpable than nbc. and i don't think he has given a sufficient explanation. but let's be brutally frank about this. this wasn't about anything other than raising money and trying to influence. he was basically trying to influence the tenor and tone of the documentary itself before it was written and aired. >> bill, i want to ask about the impact of the public of these sorts of projects and television. "game change" comes to mind. the kennedys comes to mind. years ago there was a mccain movie based on that autobiography of his. >> they did reagan which was forced off cbs by the way. >> right. fahrenheit 9/11 in movie theaters. >> right. >> or the desouza attempted takedown of obama in the last cycle. do we make too much over the value they would have in swaying
minds? >> i think to me the idea that that's going to change someone's opinion of hillary clinton seems improbable. that's why the movie is being made. she's an historical figure now. i don't think it could have that impact. but i do think you see the news divisions that are uncomfortable with it. they don't want to be tied in to what might be a valentine to hillary clinton, because it won't look good and then it will be a sale and it would be a sideshow if that happens. >> sam. >> i think it's all about ratings. and if there were a personality within the gop, they would be chomping at the bit to put on a program about him or her. beyond chris christie, i don't know that the christie record is defined to warrant a two or four-hour treatment. ratings are what matters here. that's why sarah palin was the subject of many of these a couple years ago. with respect to the news divisions and the rnc, my solution is wait for it to air and then make your up judgments. we have no idea what the actual script will say. we have no idea if it will be
flattering or critical. we can make guesses and some of them are educated guesses. there is nothing stopping reince priebus from saying after the airing that was way too flattering. now i'm going to cancel the debates on cnn or nbc. he's just doing this to influence refs. and ironically i think he's drawing more attention to a documentary he doesn't want to have aired anyway. >> i think part of the problem bill carter, for his argument, is that the line has so totally blurred between celebrity and politician, because they're equals now. look at the donald. >> yes. >> he wants to be viewed in both quarters. today is sarah palin a celebrity or is she -- she's both. >> she is both. and they all appear on late night shows now. they all make jokes. they're funny people. incidentally, cnn who was in the same boat targeted by the rnc said to me they would be happy to do a documentary on christie, because they think he is really interesting, and has news value. they would be happy to do it. i think really you have to really separate these things. the entertainment people are interested in ratings and money. one of the things that i heard
from the fox television people was we think we can make money with this. that's why they're involved, not because they have a message or anything else. that's what they want to do. >> will this controversy cause the production unit, the entertainment unit to say this is just too hot? >> it's possible. i'd say that was possible. but it also could make them think we really want to be involved. this is really going to get big ratings, and it will sell internationally where we have the rights. >> sam, you think it drives up their desire. >> why run away from the project now that it's being discussed on cable news ad nauseum? there's so much more interest in this project than it was when it was initially announced. in large part because the rnc has placed it squarely into the political spotlight. >> hysterical for me to have this conversation about this project. there's no script. >> there's no script. >> there is no script. >> but there is a star. that's another thing. >> big star. >> they have a movie star playing hillary clinton. there's a third movie being made. theatrical movie called "rodham" made by the "twilight" producers. it's about her early life. they tried to get like scarlet
johansson and casey million mulligan to play that part. they want a movie star to play hillary. >> thank you. up next, the return of birtherism in all of its nasty forms. you can follow me on twitter so long as you know how to spell smerconish. this is "hardball," the place for politics. the postal service is critical to our economy. delivering mail, medicine and packages, yet they're closing thousands of offices, slashing service and want to layoff over 100,000 workers. the postal service is recording financial losses, but not for reasons you might think. the problem? a burden no other agency or company bears. a 2006 law that drains $5 billion a year from post office revenue while the postal service is forced to overpay billions more into federal accounts. congress created this problem, and congress can fix it. blast of cold feels nice. why don't you use bengay zero degrees? it's the one you store in the freezer. same medicated pain reliever used by physical therapists. that's chilly! [ male announcer ] bengay zero degrees. freeze and move on.
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delivering whatever the world needs, when it needs it. ♪ after all, what's the point of talking if you don't have something important to say? ♪ back to "hardball." time for the sideshow." missouri's rodeo cowboy association is under fire for a controversial performance at its state fair on saturday. the bull riding event featured a rodeo clown wearing a president obama mask and the actor was then routinely mocked over the p.a. system. take a look. >> mr. obama. >> hey, lot me tell these people about who we got helping. obama is going to have to stay there. obama, watch out for those bulls.
>> hey, i know i'm a clown. he just runs around acting like one. doesn't know he is one. >> you ready? obama, they're coming for you. >> whoo. >> as soon as the bull comes out, obama, don't you move. he's going to get you, get you, get you, get you! >> that video was filmed by perry bean who also reported another clown ran up and started bobbling the lips on the mask. here's how he characterized that scene on "the today show." >> like an effigy at a klan rally. ed there have been no reason to mess with his lips if he had been a white president. playing on that stereotype, he had to go up there and diddle with his lips. >> the organizers of the taxpayer-funded event apologized last night. the clown has been banned from performing there ever again. next up, new york mayoral candidate anthony weiner seems to be in on the joke these days. he was marching in the dominican
day parade over the weekend when he reportedly grabbed a giant plantain from a woman in the crowd and waved it around. if this latest photo op seems odd even for him you might be onto the something. "the new york post" is reporting that the candidate is being filmed for a potential documentary. so maybe he was just hamming it up for the camera. and finally, birtherism is still up for debate, at least according to donald trump. here he was sparring with jonathan karl about that on abc's "this week on sunday." >> you don't still question that he was born in the united states, do you? >> i have no idea. >> even at this point? >> well, i don't know. was there a birth certificate? you tell me. you know, some people say that was not his birth certificate. i'm saying i don't know. nobody knows and you don't know either, jonathan. you're a smart guy. you don't know either. >> i'm pretty convinced. >> pretty, you said pretty. >> totally without question that he was born in the united states. >> jonathan, you said you're pretty convinced. >> up next, there's still 29 months until the start of the 2016 presidential race but don't tell that to the potential contenders. they're already flocking to iowa.
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i'm milissa rehberger. here is what is happening. authorities say after interviews rescued teenager hannah anderson, it is clear that she is a victim and had no idea her mom and brother had been killed. hannah's father spoke earlier, and said his daughter is surrounded by family and is grieving. >> the healing process will be slow. she has been through a tremendous horrific ordeal. >> authorities say kidnapper james dimaggio was armed and fired a round before being shot by the fbi. back to "hardball."
welcome back to "hardball." if political activity in the state of iowa this weekend is any indication, it's game on for the 2016 presidential race. the conservative family leadership summit attracted some of the high octane names often mentioned as 2016 contenders. >> there is no more important regulatory reform that we can do than to repeal every single word of obama care. >> my challenge to the republican party is to take a page out of our book. and start putting forth an agenda of ideas to raise up folks who want to vote for us. you saw for the last election, they didn't want to the vote for president obama but at least he went out and talked to them. >> on the democratic side, word that vice president biden will be in iowa next month to speak at senator tom harkin's annual steak fry. that's an event considered a signature stop for any democratic presidential
contender. also attending san antonio mayor julian castro, who had a high profile speaking slot at last year's democratic national convention, delivering the keynote address. that's the same speaking slot in 2012 that launched president obama's presidential arc back in 2004. even though hillary clinton didn't set foot in the state of iowa, she didn't need to in order to be the topic of presidential conversation at an emily's list event on friday. >> getting everyone excited now about what i hope will be that moment in 2017 when we all get to say madam president to hillary rodham clinton. >> so let the games begin. susan page is washington bureau chief for "usa today." michael crowley is a senior drnt for "time" magazine. michael, i love this stuff. i think "hardball" watchers love this stuff. others might be thinking, oh, it's just too soon. what is the importance of the early jockeying?
>> well, you know, on some level it's not that important. a lot of the people who get early attention and applause at these things don't end up going anywhere. we'll recall how michele bachmann won the straw poll last time around. but there are these invisible primaries under way. particularly i think the most interesting one right now is the jockeying to be. there is clearly going to be, you know, a modern establishment candidate, a romneyesque candidate. it might be someone like chris christie. and there are a lot of people who want to fill the role of the more tea party libertarian hard-core take no prisoners conservative candidate. so i think what is happening right now to a large degree within the party is jockeying, you know, for instance including cruz and rand paul to be that more conservative alternative. but this is all still very nebulous. and by the way i think for cruz the most important thing is to boost his name recognition.
it helps him have more leverage and attention back in washington and be effective in the senate. >> right. good for cruz, regardless of whether he actually runs. susan, it looks, though, already, like there are a lot of folks interested in that gop field, could be a big field. so let me read into it and say, if it is a big gop field and if it consists of the rand pauls and ted cruzs and the rick santorums, that's good news for chris christie. >> because you divide the right side of the party. >> correct. >> you don't think there is any chance that americans will get sick of this contest if we start covering it now, do you? do you think they're ready for a 3 1/2 year presidential campaign? >> some people. >> maybe viewers of this show. you know, chris christie has a difficult needle to thread. you're right. if you fragment the party on the other side, maybe that opens the door to it. i think so what is hatching now is people are trying to raise their hands to say hey, you can't do much now. you can't raise money. you can't get organized in these states like iowa and new hampshire. but you can raise your hand. but you can meet the activists
and make sure when people are putting together a list of possible contenders for the wide open race on the gop side, that your name is on it. and that's what i think people like ted cruz are doing. >> all right. let's talk about the donald. donald trump also found himself in iowa this weekend, addressing the family leadership summit with his take on the 2016 race. >> obama should have been beaten. hillary's going to be tougher to beat. and the republicans have to do what's right. if they don't pick the right person, and i mean the right person, perfect, it's got to be the perfect person, they are going to get drubbed in the 2016 election. >> now, it's worth remembering that donald trump has been inserting himself into presidential politics going back to 1988, and his forays often accompany his need to promote a book, a show or just himself in general.
steve kornacki pointed this out in the last election cycle in a piece for salon titled "trump's white house con ban 24 years ago in the 1988 cycle", publication of his book "the art of the deal," coincided with his denials that he was running for president. in the 2000 cycle, he toyed with the idea of running for president while also promoting his book "the america we deserve," and in 2012 when trump flirted with a presidential run, he was also coincidentally drawing attention to his primetime reality show "celebrity apprentice." so michael, evaluate the donald factor. >> right. so he wrote this book "the america we deserve." i guess trump is sort of the circus clown that this process deserves. in a way the media deserves. we talk about these candidates before they really show any sign of real serious investment. we need stories to cover and trump somewhat masterfully exploits that.
i don't take him seriously at all. i don't think there's any reason to given the past record you just described. to some degree we're his enablers by talking about him. he's an entertaining character. i think to the degree there's anything substantive to say about it, it's bad for republicans for him to be part of the mix. i think they're trying to get past this idea that the primary's last time around were almost a -- again, it was a clown car, it was a circus. these are the phrases you hear even from republican activists. i think trump's presence and the attention trump is getting at this point kind of creates that atmosphere again. it's a free-for-all and anyone can get in. >> can i just say to michael's point, i think that's the long-term implication. this continues to be the face of the gop, whether it's donald trump, whether it's ted cruz. i'm going to show a clip in a moment. in fact, i'll show it to you right now. senator ted cruz's father, rafael cruz, also spoke at the iowa summit family leadership and also compared obama to fidel castro. >> a young charismatic leader
rose up talking about hope and change. his name was fidel castro socialism requires that government becomes your god. that's why they have to destroy the concept of god. they have to destroy all loyalties except loyalty to the government. that is what is behind homosexual marriage. >> susan, the point being that this continues to be the face, the brand of the gop. i doubt any of the people that we've just discussed who were on those stages is going to be the nominee and could be elected president, but people sitting at home watching this sort of thing, it reinforces that's where the party is today. >> you know, i agree with you. i think that what reverend cruz was talking about comparing barack obama to fidel castro played pretty well in that audience but it's the kind of thing that makes it very difficult for republicans to appeal to voters in the middle voters you need if you're going to win a presidential election.
and in that way, i think that that speech is more damaging than the appearance by donald trump. >> i agree with you. >> let me wrap up if i might. courtesy of nbc's first read, a reminder of how early we really have in the 2016 race. at this point in the '08 cycle, august of 2005, this was the state of play. on the republican side, senator george allen was considered at least the cofront-runner for the nomination. here he is on the cover of national review with the headline his future is now and the first string presidential talent out of virginia. a year later he lost his bid for re-election. hillary clinton was seen as the overwhelming favorite on the democratic side. as for eventual winner barack obama, he had been a senator for only seven months and wasn't viewed as a presidential contender. there you go. thank you, susan page. thank you, michael crowley. up next, the verdict in the racketeering and murder trial of widety bulger.
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california in 2011. today in a courtroom in boston, a jury found him guilty of 31 out of 32 counts, including murder, moneylaundering, racketeering and extortion. the 83-year-old bulger called the trial a sham. for many it, it seemed like his focus during the two-month trial was disputing charges by the prosecution that he was an fbi informant. he also strongly denied he ever killed women. the trial was heavy on drama with bulger often cursing his former criminal associates testifying against him but surprising to some he never took the stand himself. for more on the case, we're joined by kevin cullen, a columnist for the boston globe author of "whitey bulger, america's most wanted gangster" and george anastasia, who co-authored the autobiography of former vegas mayor oscar goodman who got his start as a mob lawyer. george, speak about the mind-set of guys like this this honor, this code business where it's like okay if you say you were a
mafia kingpin but please don't say i killed women and please don't say i was a snitch. >> well, i mean, that's the position that bulger took in this case. but i think the facts undermine enhanced image of who he was. i think kevin, who's written extensively about him, can speak more to that can i could. whitey bulger created a persona that wasn't reality. and i think what we saw in this trial and the evidence is this is a real whitety bulger, he's a despicable individual. >> kevin, were you surprised he didn't take the stand in his own defense? it's common in criminal trials. in this case, it seemed like this guy had a story he wanted to tell. >> i think he did, i mean, but in the same time, michael, i think, i wrote a column the day after he did not testify, and i said at the end of the day, whitey bulger is a bully and all bullies a cowards. i don't think he had the courage to stand up and say what he did. more that he did not want to
submit himself to cross-examination when prosecutors would have brought out that he had been a snitch as far back as 1956. when he gave up his bank robbery accomplices. as george said -- >> was he a snitch? and did he kill women? >> i think -- well, a jury found today that he killed deborah hassey. as i said to stevie davis, her brother, he was crushed obviously, but the verdict -- if you look at what the jury did, i think the jury did an excellent job. i think most juries do excellent jobs. they did not support any uncorroborated evidence. they basically said, if the evidence wasn't uncorroborated, would not support it. in case of the killing of debra davis, it came down to basically stevie's account. there was hearsay evidence about what people said after. it really came down to stevie's version of this. stevie is as big a degenerate as
whitey bulger. >> the courtroom had, george, you wrote a book about mob movies. this is like a mob movie. in one instance, bulger disrupted his former associate, kevin weeks after weeks testify it bothered him bulger was an informant for the fbi. "because we killed people who were rats and i have the two biggest rats right next to me." from his seat in the courtroom, bulger screams, "you suck." weeks' response, "f you." bulger said, "f you, too." he jumped to his seat in the witness stand before the judge calmed things down. it's straight out of a screen play. >> that's been the whitey bulger saga. you can't make this stuff up. one of the things that gets lost in all this, though, is this case, this whitey bulger story is an indictment of the way fbi operates. and bulger was able to manipulate at least two fbi
agents and undermine the system. and i think hthat has gotten lot in the story of whitey bulger in this trial. >> kevin, tell us, remind us what became of whitey bulger's girlfriend, the woman with whom he was on the lam and living in santa monica. >> cathie greg was sentenced to eight years in the same courthouse years ago. she went out as the tammy wynette of south boston. she stood by her man, didn't say anything. of course, talking to a lot of the families here, the victims' families, they know whitey bulger stashed money all over the country, if that all over the world. he had safety deposit boxes in dublin, london, paris. so they're saying, where's the money in does cathie know? does his brother, billy, the former politician know? does his brother, jack, here every day for the trial, did they know? all the families believed there's millions of dollars stashed out there.
that's the mistery out there. hey, whitey bulger was a thug and a killer. the jury said that. >> kevin cullen, thank you. george anastasia, thanks so much. when we return, let me finish with a regular rite of summer, a misguided one, criticizing the president for taking a vacation. you're watching "hardball." the place for politics. help the gulf recover and learn from what happened so we could be a better, safer energy company. i can tell you - safety is at the heart of everything we do. we've added cutting-edge technology, like a new deepwater well cap and a state-of-the-art monitoring center, where experts watch over all drilling activity twenty-four-seven. and we're sharing what we've learned, so we can all produce energy more safely. our commitment has never been stronger. glass on floors. daily chores. for the little mishaps you feel use neosporin to help you heal. it kills germs so you heal four days faster. neosporin. use with band-aid brand bandages.
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they skipped last year in the midst of the 2012 campaign. the president, he hit the links with the press pool watching both yesterday and today. i notice that this morning drudge was leading with a story that talked about the arrival of bo, the family dog via an osprey helicopter, the number of hotel rooms needed for secret service, and the presence of a mesh bag filled with basketballs in the luggage. criticizing a president's vacation, especially this president's vacation has become a rite of summer. to learn more of the facts, today i chatted with mark knoller. he is the white house correspondent for cbs news, but he is more than that. he is the go-to statistician for presidential behavior, and he often shares his data with colleagues, sometimes with the presidents themselves. he maintains lists of literally everything the commander in chief does, from bill signings to pardons, vetoes, air force one flights, marine one trips and vacation destinations, even church attendance. you should follow him @markknoller. it's a must. as for the numbers, since taking
office, president obama has taken 14 vacation trips spanning all or part of 95 days. how does that compare? at the same point in his presidency, bill clinton had taken 11 vacation trips for 84 days. ronald reagan made 29 visits to his ranch for 180 days. at the same point in office, president george w. bush had made 50 visits to his texas ranch, totaling all or part of 323 days. knoller said that he always puts the word "vacation" in quotes because as he often says, u.s. presidents don't really get to take a vacation. the job comes with them 24/7. well, i'm hoping president obama plays lots of golf in the next couple of days or shoots hoops or whatever else he needs to do to maintain his mental edge. i felt the same way about president george w. bush, and i never begrudged him his time at the ranch. all told he was there during 490 days during his presidency. the health of the country is largely a function of the physical and mental health of
its commander in chief. and if blowing off some steam with a couple of bogeys or a beer in the clubhouse keeps him sharper when the red phone rings, we're all better off for it. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being was. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. good evening, from new york. i'm chris hayes. it is good to be back. tonight on "all in" global warming is a complete fraud. it's weird. i just said that. no one stood up and cheered. when republican congressman dana rorbacker said it at a tea party event other day, the crowd went wild. why climate denialism and global government conspiracy is a fan favorite of the right wing base. plus, pouring smirnoff vodka into the streets.